When I’m studying scripture, I’m often guilty of expecting God to do a magic trick right before my eyes. I skim over a lot of really valuable passages because words don’t pop off the page, followed by a flash of fire and a cloud of smoke. Reading God’s word used to be all about how I felt; I wanted to feel something, and when I didn’t, I usually decided that God wasn’t in the mood to speak to me that day.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that there are times when God’s word does jump off the page – a specific verse feels like it was written minutes ago specifically for you, right? I knowwwww it girl, and I love that feeling. So much in fact, that it was all I was looking for, and I felt alone and clueless when that didn’t happen with the turn of each page.
I went on like that for quite some time; and each time, I felt a little more empty. Where was God? Why wasn’t He showing up? I was there. I was doing my thing. I set aside my “Jesus time”, I closed the distractions, and I was skimming the pages for His knowledge and wisdom. So why wasn’t He showing up to meet me?
Now, that sounds crazy to me, but at the time, I absolutely felt that way. And then something challenged me earlier this year. And by the way, I hate to be challenged. I (half) joke and say that I wasn’t born with an obedient bone in my body. Obviously, that’s not true, but it takes me a lot longer to come around; we’re working on it. Anyway, I decided to host a virtual book club for a bunch of ladies I’d connected with Instagram, thinking that it would be a great way to take what I had been learning and share it. It was a great way to share, but it was an even better way to learn, which I didn’t see coming. I knew I wanted to focus on a devotional or faith-based book of some sort, so I started reading through a few that I had in mind.
I start every day with a faith-based book and a devotional. Before I open my Bible, I always like to “warm-up”. In fitness, we stretch before we workout. I treat my quiet time the same way. From the second I get up, chaos surrounds me on all sides. My alarm is blaring, my dogs are jumping around, and if I make the mistake of glancing at my phone, I see all the tasks that require my attention. So before I dive into God’s word, I like to make sure my mind is in the right place. I want to be focused and interested. Reading a book about God will often get my thoughts stirring and even excited to learn more.